Why I Hate Community Theater

“Hey kid, you did it. You really made it.”
No, you didn’t. You are just in community theater. So, what is community theater? Well, let’s take an example: The Community Theater Association of Michigan says: “Membership in CTAM is open to theatre organizations within the state of Michigan who have a regular schedule of theatrical productions voluntarily participated in (actors may not be paid) for the enjoyment of the membership and the general public.” This also follows with my own personal experience with community theater. On top of actors not being paid, there is also this hook:”For only $30 a year this membership is the best way to stay informed about CTAM programs, services and events. Entire families may join for $40 (a family is defined as a group of individuals living at the same address).” This also follows with own personal experience with community theater. One must pay to take part instead of getting a part and getting paid.

Now why do I hate community theater? Why would I hate a place that allows young actors to grow, learn and find their voice? Why would I hate a place that fosters goodwill and art within the community. Very simple. Nepotism, inflated egos, disrespect, and generally horrible shows that no one has the heart to actually say are genuinely horrible.

Let’s take the example of nepotism. Nepotism,is giving someone a job, mostly family members,  without merit. As you can see above, nepotism is written upon receipt of payment. Families can rule a “community” theater like The Godfather. I’ll use an experience from my own #reallife as an example. So, if you go to Actor’s Access, you’ll see a credit for Boy’s Voice. While on the surface it seems exactly like the stereotypical beginning actor’s credit, it really is not. It is an example of nepotism.
So let me start from the top, I am an actual beginning actor, looking to start over, even though I had previous experience from doing a play in high school and dabbling with some drama in middle school. Anyways, I go to an audition for my local community theater group thinking, “hey, I’m a beginning actor, I’m still a bit intimidated to go down to the University Theater Dept, so I’ll do what beginning actors do!” (Luckily, my survival job at the time was college).

Anyways, I go to the audition (after more then thoroughly preparing by watching the old film and practicing the monologue, which at the time I sucked at) for To Kill A Mockingbird. I look around and I am the only African-American in the room for the only African American part  for my age group. Now I was just a beginning actor, I did not let that get to me. When my number was called, I did what I had practiced. Then I went home.  *RING**RING* “Congratulations! You got the role of Tom! Come in a week from now at such and such location and pick up a schedule and French scene chart” I go down there -

“Congratulations! Town person! Here is your schedule and French scene chart, we will call you when we need you!”
A month later- They call

“Congratulations! um person with no discernable role but since you are the only African American person to audition we are going to keep dragging you along since you don’t know any better! Will you help us with the backstage stuff?” “uh sure why not.”“Oh hey, you don’t have to stay and watch these rehearsals, even though you never had a rehearsal before, just go home.”

A month later – They call again

“It’s hell week and we need you to know everything about the play even though you’ve never seen it before and I wouldn’t let you stay during rehearsals and I’m not even going to tell you what to do, this amateur stage manager who also happens to be my best friend’s son is your boss now. I am going to yell and scream if you make a mistake because crew members are worthless compared to these God-fearing actors.” (I was actually happy to see the roles reverse in the extra-PA relationship)

“You hear this tone deaf and wooden board of an actor? He is a star! He is our Tom! He has experiwienze!
Just listen to his his voice that makes Tommy Wiseau look like an Oscar winner!”


“Oh, by the way, us actors will just stand around and pick our noses while you list up that speaker that is twice the size of you.”

“Oh, the audience clapped! All of our biased friends, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and stepmothers really enjoyed our performances! George W. Bush couldn’t stack a crowd better!”

“Now you just sit here and clean up everything while us actors go and hobnob with our stacked crowd attendees.”

You see, there is nothing wrong with community theater. It can be a great place to learn, but if you think it is anything more then that, you are delusional my friend.

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lavina said...

Yes i read your opinion about community theater. No need to watch them . You watch moves in my DISH Network.

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